Spencer's Transportation Museum celebrates all things Ford

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2012

By Hugh Fisher
SPENCER — Every type of automobile ever made, even the Edsel and the Pinto, has fans.
New or old, refurbished or just well-loved, Fords of all vintages and colors filled the lawn at the N.C. Transportation Museum on Saturday.
From Joe and Sarah Strube’s 1925 Model T, the oldest vehicle there, to late-model Mustangs and anniversary edition Thunderbirds, there was a Ford for every fan.
“With Ford being so universal, over so many decades, you can see why so many fans are here,” said Sam Wegner, executive director of the Transportation Museum.
“They’re just devoted.”
This was the eighth annual installment of the All Ford Show, which will be followed by two more celebrations of American autos.
For Chevy, Buick and Pontiac fans, this weekend brings the All GM Show, starting at 9 a.m. with awards at noon.
And on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 to noon, the Plymouth Car Club of N.C. will bring vehicles to Spencer for the All MOPAR Show, celebrating Chrysler’s brands.
The car shows are free, though an admission ticket is required to ride the train or visit Transportation Museum exhibits.
It’s not just cars at these car shows, but plenty of pickups as well.
This year’s Best of Show award went to a first-time exhibitor, Kinney Frye of Robbins.
His light-green ’56 Ford F-100 has been painstakingly restored.
“I’ve had it over 20 years,” Frye said.
Frye said he heard about the show and decided to make the hour-and-20-minute drive just for the fun of it.
“I didn’t even think about awards,” he said.
The pickup has been restored “top to bottom, every nut and bolt,” and now sports a Lincoln suspension, “from a Town Car,” plus a fuel-injected 4.6-liter V8 with electronic 4-speed overdrive.
Frye, who’s a retired construction worker and electrician, pulled his truck up alongside other gleaming Ford products for photos after the awards ceremony.
Another award-winner was Reg Boland, whose black ’59 Lincoln Continental Mark IV is the epitome of the term “land yacht.”
Boland said the car is the largest unibody vehicle ever made.
He said he’s had the Continental for about nine years, “but I’ve known the car for 30.”
After always admiring it, he now has the chance to own it.
Other than being repainted once, Boland said, the car is all-original.
And, for its time, it was high-tech, with a control panel full of gauges and an electronic eye on the dashboard to control the headlights.
“The only problem is, it won’t pass a gas station,” Boland joked.
The car’s 430-cubic-inch, eight-cylinder power plant seems more suited to “blocks per gallon” rather than “miles.”
Boland said he’s brought a car to the event every year, not necessarily the Lincoln.
He said the partnership between car clubs and the N.C. Transportation Museum was “natural.”
In all, organizer Bob Hopkins said, there were 87 cars and trucks on display, including the 1929 Model AA fire truck donated to the museum by the Piedmont chapter of the Model A Club.
Buddy Phillips of Kannapolis said he’s glad to be able to come to the shows and get information.
His bright-yellow ’69 Mustang Fastback is an unusual combination of historic lines and modern muscle.
He purchased a stock Mustang from a friend, Mike Miller of Kannapolis, owner of a body shop.
He then found the body parts needed to remove the original top and replace it with Fastback parts.
“It took me two years and six months,” Phillips said.
At the same time, he replaced the engine with something a lot newer: an almost brand-new 2002 Ford 4.6-liter V8, taken from a Lincoln County Sheriff’s patrol car, totaled not long after it left the factory.
Phillips held up a photo to show the wrecked Ford Crown Victoria and its odometer: only 1,898 miles.
He also swapped in the Crown Vic’s transmission and rear axle.
“It’ll run,” Phillips said, bragging that the modified Mustang — weighing about 1,000 pounds less than the Crown Vic — now gets 25 to 26 miles per gallon.
“I can go to the beach and back on 16 gallons of gas,” he said.
He said the All Ford Show’s mix of modern and vintage cars, and knowledgeable people, made it an event he enjoyed.
For more information on the upcoming All GM and All MOPAR shows, visit www.nctrans.org/events.aspx, or call 704-639-1811.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.